Raised in Bristol, UK, Dave Moores secured a place at Cambridge University where he took a degree in Philosophy. Since prospects for a lucrative career as a philosopher were non-existent, Dave’s interests quickly took a hard turn away from liberal arts to technology, resulting in a Diploma in Electronic Engineering from British Aerospace College. His inclination to write was sparked soon after by a short story contest in the industry journal Airframe.
Dave has long enjoyed a passion for competitive sailboat racing. One evening after a race, his crew of spirited ladies suggested he write a story based on their adventures and personal anecdotes. The writing gene was reactivated and the result was Windward Legs, Dave’s first novel, set in the sailing milieu of Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe and much enjoyed by the sailing crowd.
Attitude is Dave’s second novel. His third, Sparkles and Karim, set in Iraq during the ISIS incursions, is coming along.
Dave, thanks for taking the time to do this interview for my readers. I’d like to talk about your new book ATTITUDE just released in September 2020 in addition to general questions about your writing.
KP. You’ve said, in your Bio, that your “inclination to write was sparked by a short story contest in the Industry (Aerospace) journal Airframe.” Can you tell us more about this science-fiction piece?
A. It was about a man who invents a newfangled flight simulator using recently-discovered antigravity technology. A bad guy shows up to kidnap him for his unique knowledge but our man finds a way to get him into the machine, crash it, and kill him. It wasn’t bad.
KP. What do you read, generally, in terms of genre and authors?
A. I read quite a bit of commercial fiction by writers whose work I enjoy as writing: John Sandford, Lee Child, that kind of thing.
KP. Can you tell us what authors and books have influenced your work to date?
A. That’s hard. I am a huge fan of Martin Cruz Smith. His stories and his writing are top of the heap, his writing is a joy to read and an example to try and live up to. Some hopes!
Another author whose writing I greatly like is John Grisham. His novel Camino Island is all about writers and writing and it’s a lot of fun. And one of the things I like about Grisham is that he manages to make a bit of dry humour work even when things are getting scary.
KP. How long did it take to write ATTITUDE? Has writing gotten any faster and easier for you since its completion and publication?
A. I started playing with Chapter 1 as a short story three years ago and it went from there.
KP. ATTITUDE is described as a YA novel, and seems to be quite a departure from Philosophy and Aerospace. What took you down the path to write a YA novel?
A. I have always been a reader of fiction, right back to the classic James Bond novels of the 1960’s. And I always felt huge admiration for anyone who has the focus, determination and inspiration to actually finish a novel. I have been a competitive racing sailor for many years and one evening after a race, my crew of lively women – don’t ask me how that happened, I have no idea – suggested I ought to write a novel using all their anecdotes about life and sailing. From that sprang my first novel Windward Legs, a sometimes racy story about a woman who sails and is trying to put her life back together after a bad breakup. Well, to my surprise I got it finished and they really liked it!
I did not set out to write a YA novel. I simply wanted to write about this kid in a small town getting into scrapes with his buddy and then having to deal with bad stuff. So I guess it’s YA but a lot of adults really like it too!
KP. Is there a favourite among all the chapters in ATTITUDE? Why is that?
A. That’s another hard one! I guess Chapter 1 because, written initially as a short story, it grabbed be and pulled me forward into the novel. I’m also quite proud of the chapter where Lyle has to risk death in a freezing tunnel to save his buddies.
KP. What was the hardest chapter to write in ATTITUDE? Why was that?
A. Nothing stands out. I pretty quickly came to really know my characters and they just pulled me along.
KP. Has your pursuit of Philosophy and training in electronic engineering helped your writing? If so, how?
A. Disciplined thinking, I guess, and clearly expressed thought without ambiguity or waffling.
KP. It’s seems as if you’re a big believer in one of Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules for Writers— If it sounds like Writing, rewrite it. Are there other rules of his that you follow?
A. ”Try to leave out the parts readers tend to skip”. “Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.” “Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” . . . he admonished gravely.” They’re all good rules but these are the ones I always try to follow.
KP. ATTITUDE is set in the small town of Southmead, Huron Country. Can you tell us how you settled on this particular location for your book and its relationship to a real town that you might have based it on?
A. I have vacationed in Huron County a number of times and the small towns there have a certain feel of isolation I believed I could reproduce in my story.
KP. What kind of research did you do for ATTITUDE and how much time did it take? What were your sources?
A. Oddly enough, the only bit of research I recall was to check on the size and structure of a small-town police force in rural Ontario. Like most writers I suppose, I do research for authenticity, not inspiration.
KP. How did you arrive at the names for your characters in the book? Is there a science behind this or are names chosen randomly? Is there a connection between names and characters?
A. Lyle and Garth are the first names of country singers. I thought they might work in this setting. They seem to. I try to pick names that don’t sound alike, so as not to confuse readers. Marigold and Laura, for example. And for the bad guys, Billy, Mitch and Brad, I picked names that seemed to work for small-town lowlifes. I didn’t think Theodore or Augustine would work, though I suppose they might have.
KP. We all need heroes. Tell us about some of the protagonists in your books. Is there real-life inspiration behind them?
A. Honestly, no. They’re all mine.
KP. What was the most difficult part of YOUR artistic process in completing the cycle for ATTITUDE and other books?
A. I’m not a fast writer. I like to go over what I wrote the day before and clean it up, find inconsistencies and so forth. But once I can see a clear path to a conclusion I like, I get motivated to push on and get it done to see if it will be as great as I picture it.
KP. Is your approach to writing one that encompasses a formula that might meet your reader’s expectation, or do you write what you know is the correct way?
A. Attitude loosely follows a well-known template called “the Hero’s Journey.” In twelve stages it suggests a pattern to follow to structure a compelling story. Many Iconic heroes follow it: Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Frodo. It seems to have worked this time for Lyle!
KP. Do you ever consider writing ATTITUDE under a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, why not?
A. No way. I’m proud of the story and want my name on it.
KP. Did you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people would know of?
A. Not in Attitude. In Windward Legs there’s quite a bit of sailing knowhow.
KP. What do you think are the most important magazines/journals for aspiring writers to subscribe to?
A. I don’t read any.
KP. Have you been on any literary pilgrimages? If so, which and what did you gain from that pilgrimage and would you recommend pilgrimages to other authors?
A. Nope. Never been.
KP. Can you think of any, what you might consider a favourite under-appreciated book? If so, what is it and why do you think it’s under-appreciated?
A. Aha, another hard one. Back to Martin Cruz Smith. His Novel Rose, set in the English coal mining town of Wigan in the nineteenth century, is not universally liked by some reviewers who nitpick at detail and miss the brilliance of the writing and the cleverness of the story. For me it’s a top-ten read.
KP. What do you consider the mark of success for a writer? How does s/he know s/he’s been successful?
A. Getting published in the first place. Most don’t.
KP. You’ve a number of strong female characters in ATTITUDE. What was the most difficult stumbling block for you in writing those characters of the opposite sex and how did you overcome them?
A. For whatever reason, I don’t find it hard to write women. My female beta-readers say I do it well and help me out if I stumble. Hence Alice in Windward Legs and Sparkles in my work-in-progress Sparkles and Karim.
KP. What do you think are the most common traps that upcoming writers encounter, and how could/should they overcome them?
A. Not giving yourself permission to write a crappy first draft. Trying to put a message across instead of writing a good yarn. Not liking/trusting your characters to take the story forward in unexpected ways.
The best way, in my experience, to overcome these mistakes is to read a lot and join a writing class/group to get feedback from other aspiring writers.
KP. Do you think someone could be a writer if they can’t feel the emotions of their characters? Why?
A. No. Because if you don’t feel their emotions how do you expect your reader to?
KP. Assuming you always think there’s room for improvement, what’s your approach to becoming a better writer?
A. Keep writing and keep getting feedback.
KP. If it’s not giving away any trade secrets, what’s your next project / What are you working on now?
A. A novel set in Iraq in 2014 at the height of the ISIS incursions.
Sparkles, a fighter pilot, and Karim, an agent planted inside ISIS by the CIA, break away from their assigned roles. To atone for their insubordination they find themselves forced to team up on a risky mission, posing as an ISIS couple. Disliking each other initially, they face betrayal and the horrors of jihad, only to discover that they have more in common than they first believed.
KP. If you were to pass on one particular piece of advice to an upcoming writer, what would it be?
A. Don’t over-think. Press on with your story. Get that crappy first draft done! That in itself is a huge confidence-booster.
KP. If you had to do it all over again, would you change the plot and outline of ATTITUDE? If so, why or why not?
A. No, I would not change it. I made plenty of changes along the way but I’m very happy with the final result and the reviews I’m getting.
KP. What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
David Moore’s latest book is obtainable from Amazon with this link: